Thursday, October 20, 2016

Action Comics #16

Let's start with Superman.

Catching a falling man isn't really a big deal for Superman, and probably only needs a successful "attack" roll to scoop the man up.

The early Superman doesn't seem to care all that much if anyone figures out his secret identity. Not only does he wear no mask and conceals no fingerprints, but the windows on his apartment have sheer curtains. You'd think he'd at least use shades for more privacy!

This is the first story to call Superman's port of call "Metropolis", beginning the trend of fictional cities in the superhero genre.

The police commissioner in this story is a corrupt politician, despite the fact that most police are statted as fighters.

$5,000 was apparently a good night's haul for a casino-club.

The gamblers in this story don't seem to have any special abilities worth statting differently than slick hoodlums, other than to give them a better chance of rigging games.

Superman turns down the chance to collect XP for keeping the money in exchange for the good deed award for giving it all away to poor people.

Racketeers seem to have even less special abilities than gamblers.

Superman wrecks gambling establishments, both with a hammer and his bare hands. Since he's not wrecking the buildings themselves, I'd probably treat this as a wrecking doors roll (and at Superman's current level, he probably doesn't even need to roll for that anymore).

Superman picked up a fixed deck of cards to fool the gamblers, and then keeps it as a trophy.

Pep Morgan's adventure has an unusual angle -- Hero playing bodyguard. Can an Editor pull off a session where the Hero has to spend a week living with another character, waiting to see if any harm comes to him or her (her, in this case)? Only if the Editor creates an engaging character, and the player really likes to roleplay.  Otherwise, the scenario will quickly fast forward to the first whiff of danger. This is part 2 of a 4-part story arc where Pep is employed by a Mr. Smith, who keeps handing Pep plot hooks.

Pep, despite being just a college student, is already a pipe smoker and goes to bed early enough that he's asleep at 11:30 pm when mobsters try to abduct Mr. Smith's daughter, Mary. Something wakes Pep up in time, though (save vs. plot?) so he can come pummel the kidnappers with his fists until they surrender. One of the kidnappers falls over from being pummeled, which isn't supported by the game mechanics, although an Editor could rightly say the circumstances warranted it since the man was carrying Mary and would be unbalanced (maybe a save vs. science to avoid falling over).

Slings and arrows (of outrageous fortune!) are being hurled at Marco Polo in his adventure, but the more effective weapon seems to be the dropped rocks falling on the bandits in the ambush at the end. If the rocks are heavy enough that they have to be pushed over instead of thrown, it could be considered a trap and do more than normal missile weapon damage. Maybe 1-8 points?

Clip Carson deals with a fake mummy in an Egyptian tomb, but it's a trick -- the mummy is a "robot" (really, more like animatronics) and it's voice was from a concealed record player behind it. Clip is in the Pyramid of Cheops -- aka the Great Pyramid of Giza -- looking for a secret treasure room that was apparently missed by 9th century looters and 19th century archaeologists. Interestingly, a rival -- a corrupt sergeant from the occupying British Army -- found the treasure room before them and has convinced the natives to guard it by posing as Cheops in a rubber mask. Maybe those natives have been in the stale air of the pyramid too long...

For the Chuck Dawson summary I'm reading says Chuck is framed by thugs, which is an odd mobster type choice for a Western adventure. Maybe these are outlaws?

Tex Thompson's adventure has an interesting spin to it as well. Tex is asked by the French government to infiltrate a spy ring, to find out who their mole is in the French government. In eight more months, things would be getting a lot more exciting in France if Tex stuck around that long.

Zatara has his first encounter with aliens from another planet (he's already fought aliens from another dimension). He encounters them as if a random wandering encounter -- or at least he encounters the teleport beam that scoops up a random farmer while Zatara and Tong are out on an evening stroll together.

Zatara investigates at the local observatory, where the aliens somehow push him into a teleport beam and he winds up on Saturn. The Saturnians look an awful lot like the Martian Manhunter, 16 years before his debut! Despite having super technology that allows instantaneous interplanetary travel, the Saturnians fight with lassos. Zatara meets their warlord and convinces him to leave Earth alone by showing him a Phantasmal Image of the planet Earth attacking the planet Saturn. Saturnians are very impressionable.

(Superman adventure read in Superman: Action Comics Archive v. 1; select pages were read on the Babbling about DC Comics blog; the rest read in summary either at DC Wikia or Mike's Amazing World.)

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